Reusable, corrugated, expiratory limb ventilator tubing that had been in use for 24 hours, were randomly allocated to one of three groups: no treatment (N = 36); detergent wash (N = 83); or a detergent wash followed by a 10 minute immersion in a 1:16 dilution of synergized glutaraldehyde-phenate solution which was reused for 30 days. (Between 10 and 22 tubes were tested in each five day interval during this 30-day period.) Tubes were quantitatively and qualitatively cultured. There were significant differences in both the percent of contaminated tubes (no treatment = 92%, detergent wash = 72%, glutaraldehyde-phenate = 0 to 20%) and numbers of microorganisms per tube (no treatment = 3.2 x 10(6), detergent wash = 1.3 x 10(4), glutaraldehyde-phenate = 0 to 182) between groups. There was no apparent decrease in glutaraldehyde-phenate's efficacy throughout the 30-day reuse period, and in the final five days of the reuse period it was completely effective.
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